Written with a life-time's worth of experience, this is a thoughtful and good-humoured attempt to analyse and to bridge the divisions within the modern Church.
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Available as: Paperback
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Specifications: 234x156mm, 284pp
Published: August 2009
In this book an ancient country parson emerges from obscurity to investigate the root causes and possible long term solution of the most agonising problem facing Christianity, and especially his own beloved Anglican Communion, today – its crippling and deep-seated disunity in the face of relentless secularist attack.
"Eirenicon" is an obscure word, defined as "a proposition or device for securing peace, especially in the church". In this ambitious work, John Fitch's eirenicon for the Anglican Church offers a distinctive long-term approach to this issue with a touch of originality – a no-holds-barred discussion of the uniquely Anglican concept of "churchmanship". Analysing the Anglican Church from its origins in the 1530s to the Lambeth Conference of 2008 and beyond, Fitch identifies the primary issues of disagreement as owing to the division of the church along four cardinal points. On a compass, which he labels the "Fitch Ecclesiometer", High Church Anglo-Catholics disagreeing with Low Church Evangelicals, and open-minded Broad Churchmen at odds with their traditionalist Narrow Church brethren, are opposed to each other respectively.
Fitch aims to acknowledge these differences, but also to encourage Anglicans, and indeed Christians as a whole, to reawaken to what is shared. With thought and understanding, he suggests, every Christian can move towards the cross at the centre of the compass, to find the Central Churchman within himself, the open-hearted Christian who seeks to embrace the other rather than triumph over him.
Extensively illustrated with photographs and line-drawings, the book also includes an extensive reference section answering questions on church imagery and lore. Although serious in intent, Fitch's thesis is by no means devoid of humour, and deserves a thoughtful hearing from all who share his concerns.
1. The Anglican Concept of Churchmanship
Part One: Churchmanship's Four Standpoints
2. Low Church/Evangelical
3. Broad Church/Modernist/Post-modernist/Liberal
4. High Church/Anglo-Catholic
5. Narrow Church/Conservative/Traditionalist
6. The Anglican Eirenicon
Part Two: Application
7. Anglicans World-Wide: Unity or Disintegration?
8. Christians World-Wide: The Ecumenical Scene
9. The Wider World: The Abrahamic/Monotheistic Faiths
10. The Fitch Ecclesiometer
11. Beyond a Joke
List of Biblical References
Preface » (PDF, 46 KB)
Chapter 1: The Anglican Concept of Churchmanship » (PDF, 190 KB)
Born in June of 1922, John Fitch read History and Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. After preparing for the Anglican parish ministry at Wells Theological College in Somerset, he served for forty years in various parishes throughout Suffolk until 1987, being appointed Hon Canon of St Edmundsbury in 1975. Now living in Essex, he has one son, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. His previous areas of publication have been antiquarian and genealogical.